A California woman charged with aggravated identity theft as well as conspiracy to commit bank fraud pleaded guilty to those charges on Nov. 17. She is one of four individuals charged in connection with the case.
In 2011, it was discovered that devices had been installed on registers at 80 Micheals stores in 19 states that would take bank account and personal identification numbers. With that information, which was obtained using wireless technology, the culprits would then get counterfeit cards. A number of banks were affected by the breach.
According to prosecutors, the woman and her co-conspirator had 179 counterfeit cards in New Jersey and withdrew over $420,000 from machines. The woman was charged in New Jersey. The two individuals who had been previously charged in connection with the same breach pleaded guilty in 2012. They had 952 cards and are currently serving five-year terms in prison.
People who are facing charges associated with fraud, embezzlement, identity theft and white-collar crimes may wish to consult an attorney. These can all be serious charges, and an individual may wish to avoid speaking to investigators without a lawyer present. An attorney might be able to advise an individual on the best courses of action. For example, in a case like this one, an individual might plead guilty as part of a deal with the prosecution to get a lighter sentence. However, in other cases, it may be wiser to plead innocent. For example, in cases of fraud or embezzlement, an individual may have worked alongside people who were guilty of these actions without being directly involved.
Source: Reuters, "California woman pleads guilty over Michaels retailer cards theft," Nate Raymond, Nov. 17, 2015